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Parents are paying their children to stop them staring at their screens

Yahoo! Style UK logo Yahoo! Style UK 13/08/2019 Marie Claire Dorking
a young girl sitting on a bed: Parents are paying their children to stay off their tablets [Photo: Getty] Parents are paying their children to stay off their tablets [Photo: Getty]

How much screen time children should be having is a contentious issue, but some parents are turning to drastic measures to get their kids to stop looking at their phones and tablets, with a quarter actually paying theirs to stop.

And it isn’t just stepping away from the screen parents are forking out for either, according to a new survey some are also ‘bribing’ their children to go to bed and do their homework.

The research, by Halifax, polled 500 parents and found that 23% of parents paid children aged eight to 15 pocket money to get them off their screens.

As well as steering their offspring away from tech, one in five (20%) frazzled parents have used pocket money as a way of getting their child to bed, and one in six (15%) on making homework more appealing.


More on this story:

Parents can police screen time but good luck telling your children (The Guardian)

Children's sleep 'barely affected by screen time' (The Telegraph)

Parents should impose two-hour screen limit for children (Independent)


Nearly 60% of parents are also stumping up cash to pay children for chores such as tidying their bedroom, cleaning or washing up, and that’s despite more than half (53%) believing their kids should be helping out regardless.

But if the work is not up to scratch, three in 10 (30%) parents would be willing to withhold payment.

According to the poll children receive £7.71 per week in pocket money, up from £7.01 in 2018.

© Getty

In terms of how they’re spending their cash, the bank found 42% of children are indulging their sweet tooth by stocking up on the sugary stuff, while almost a third (31%) are ploughing their pocket money into gaming and 30% are buying toys.

Despite enjoying spending their money, more than 90% of savvy parents claim to encourage their children to save their money while half let their children download apps, or spend on music or film and TV streaming services.

Parents are also forking out for children to do their homework and go to bed [Photo: Getty] © Provided by Oath Inc. Parents are also forking out for children to do their homework and go to bed [Photo: Getty]

Commenting on the findings Giles Martin, head of savings at Halifax, said: “The summer holidays represent great opportunity for parents to spend time with their children, get out and about as well as giving a life lesson on the value of money and earning their own cash.

“With over 70 per cent of children still using a piggy bank to save their pennies, the summer months can be great for kids to see how much they can earn or save by the time they go back to school – and it’s interesting to see so many parents try to incentivise good behaviour with pocket money too.”

There have been some conflicting opinions about the impact of screen time on children’s health and wellbeing and how much screen time is too much.

Gallery: Signs you're spending too much even if it doesn't feel like you are (Business Insider)

Earlier this year, parents were told to worry less about the effects of screen time as there is little evidence that it’s harmful to children.

Instead, new guidance from leading paediatricians suggests that parents should run through a checklist to monitor the impact screen time is having on their children.

Related news: Forget coins. Now six-year-olds can get pocket money on a card (The Guardian)

But back in September new research has proven that more than two hours of recreational screen time a day could seriously affect a child’s learning.

The subject of pocket money has also recently made headlines after it was revealed that parents are opting to give their children allowances and pocket money rather than encouraging them to find Saturday jobs.

The joint biggest reason youngsters cited for not taking a part-time job is because they get an allowance or income elsewhere such as pocket money, with 44% of non-workers relying on handouts from parents.

Explore the issues faced by the UK’s most vulnerable children and young people this summer and discover what you can do to help.


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